Why Bush Smiles: Victory is at Hand in Iraq

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Despite George W. Bush's ostentatious bucking up of the Iraqi government yesterday, it is very likely that there will indeed be an American-engineered coup ousting Maliki and installing some sort of strongman-led  "national unity government" in Baghdad soon, probably before the end of the year.

(Indeed, the very showiness of Bush's pledge of support – in a phone call supposedly initiated by Bush, then announced to the media – is a good indication of the decapitation to come. As JFK once told Gore Vidal: "When a politician says to you, 'Jack, if there's anything I can do for you, just let me know,' that means you're dead." And Maliki – installed in a Bush-backed internal party coup that toppled the previous prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who was himself once a recipient of similar pledges of staunch White House support – is a dead man walking.)

The chief reason why Maliki and his government will be ousted is not the hell-storm of death and violence that is now devouring the country. The fact that every new day sees a hundred or more mutilated bodies dumped on the nation's streets, and pitched battles between sectarian militias, and multiple deaths of American troops, and mass flights of anguished Iraqi civilians running in fear for their lives is not a matter of any urgent concern to Bush and his warmakers. Indeed, there is much evidence that one of the prime instigators of the wanton killing is a group created and long nurtured by the Bush Administration itself: the Facilities Protection Service, an army of uniformed freebooters nearly 150,000 strong. (I'll be writing more on this later.) Of course, the violence is a political headache for the Bushists, because it generates bad press; but they don't care about it – it has no intrinsic meaning or emotional impact on those who are already responsible for the deaths of more than half a million Iraqis and more than 2,700 Americans.

No, what will likely bring on the coup is the December deadline for crafting a new oil law, which was imposed on Iraq by the International Monetary Fund, as part of the deal to write off some – but by no means all – of the nation's crushing debt. 


Given the current level of intense anti-American feeling in Iraq, and the overwhelming majority support among every sector of society for ending the occupation, and the overwhelming belief among Iraqis that the chief reason behind the invasion was to steal their oil, it is almost inconceivable that Maliki will be able to sign the new law, which essentially opens up Iraq's oil wealth to decades of despoliation by U.S. and European energy conglomerates. The Maliki government – already weak, incompetent and despised, as are all puppet regimes – could not possibly survive the political backlash that such a move would provoke.

Therefore, Maliki will either refuse to sign the law – in which case he would doubtless be removed immediately one way or another; perhaps even by some act of "terrorist violence" – or else he will seek to postpone the deadline and buy himself a little more time. If it's the latter case, then he and his government might last out the year after all, assuming the Potomac Potentate deigns to extend his temporary mercy. But sooner or later the law will be signed: it is the reason for the war, it is why all of these people have died, it is the sign and substance of the true victory that Bush has been working for all these years.

Indeed, once it is signed, we may in fact see a partial withdrawal of occupation troops begin, under the cover of the recommendations of the "bipartisan" panel headed by Bush Family consigliore James Baker. It will look like Bush has finally "listened to reason," that he has wisely "changed course;" but if it happens, it will only be because he has gotten what he came for: crony control of Iraq's vast oil reserves. Baker meanwhile will have accomplished his own multi-faceted mission: keeping Iraq in IMF bondage by holding the whip of the remaining debt over its head, while simultaneously ensuring that Iraq continues its onerous, back-breaking payments of arrears and "reparations" to Baker's private lobbying clients (and longtime Bush Family business partners), the Saudi and Kuwaiti royals.

For as Joshua Holland of Alternet.com points out, the new Iraqi oil law will lock in succeeding governments, while the "sovereign debt" will also stay on the books no matter what kind of state follows the inevitable demise of the puppet regime installed by Bush. Holland has laid out the details of this remarkable – yet almost unremarked – situation in two excellent articles: Bush's Petro-Cartel Almost Has Iraq's Oil and The U.S. Takeover of Iraqi Oil. I've been writing piecemeal about many of these issues for years, (e.g., Dubya Indemnity: Bush Barons Beyond the Reach of Law), but Holland has provided a succinct yet in-depth overview, drawing on his own research and interviews with some of the leading muckrakers of Bush's war-profiteering bloodbath. He is especially good on the backstory of the debt deal, another unheralded "victory" by the Bush Faction.

Yes, victory. You wonder why Bush and his minions maintain the seemingly irrational belief that "things are going wel
l" in Iraq, that "we're making progress," etc.? That's because things are going well in the war they are fighting: the war for money and power. What happens to the human beings caught up in this war – Iraqi civilians, or American citizens at ever-greater risk from the terrorism spawned by the war – is, again, no concern of the Bush gang. In fact, the worse things are from that standpoint, the better it is for the Bushists. The war profits (and stolen swag) they and their corporate cronies have accrued from the Iraq War (and the "War on Terror" as well) have given them unimaginable wealth with which to continue their overall dominance of American society – no matter who wins the elections in 2006 or 2008, or for decades beyond. As I've stated often before, no matter what happens, Bush and his cronies have already won the war.

They've won even if Iraq collapses into perpetual anarchy, or becomes an extremist religious state; they've won even if the whole region goes up in flames, and terrorism flares to unprecedented heights – because this will just mean more war-profiteering, more fear-profiteering. And yes, they've won even if they lose their majority next month or the presidency in 2008, because war and fear will still fill their coffers, buying them continuing influence and power as they bide their time through another interregnum of a Democratic "centrist" – who will, at best, only nibble at the edges of the militarist state  – until they are back in the saddle again. The only way they can lose the Iraq War is if they are actually arrested and imprisoned for their war crimes. And you know and I know that's not going to happen.

So that confident strut of the Bush gang, their incessant upbeat pronouncements about the war, their complacent smirks, their callous indifference to the unspeakable horror they have unleashed upon the world – these are not the hallmarks of self-delusion, or wilful ignorance, or a disassociation from reality. They know full well what the reality is – and they like it.

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